Cells of the zona fasciculata and zona reticularis lack aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) that converts corticosterone to aldosterone, and thus these tissues produce only the weak mineralocorticoid corticosterone. However, both these zones do contain the CYP17A1 missing in zona glomerulosa and thus produce the major glucocorticoid, cortisol. Zona fasciculata and zona reticularis cells also contain CYP17A1, whose 17,20-lyase activity is responsible for producing the androgens, dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione. Thus, fasciculata and reticularis cells can make corticosteroids and the adrenal androgens, but not aldosterone.
Fluoride, chlorine, lead, pesticides, synthetic calcium, artificial sweeteners, synthetic fragrances, and mercury, are well-known endocrine disruptors that can lead to pineal calcification. Eat organic produce (from small, responsible farms), and drink only clean, healthy drinking water. When drinking or cooking with tap water, use a filter that removes fluoride and chlorine. A whole house filter, or at least one for the bathtub/shower, would be advisable since we breathe a lot of fluoride and chlorine and other chemicals into our lungs when we shower with tap water, and chemicals are absorbed through the skin.
Increasing dietary fiber is another strategy for balancing ghrelin. Studies have shown that intake of beta-glucan (ranging from 4-6 grams) appears to decrease appetite. 20 Numerous other studies have suggested that the feeling of fullness in the stomach after fiber consumption helps to modulate ghrelin, and a diet high in fiber helps to accomplish this while minimizing caloric intake. One study concluded, “Although the mechanism is not precisely known, the data suggest that the fiber intake may inhibit high-fat diet induced leptin secretion and gastric ghrelin gene expression.” 21